Before the food arrives, you are ready to ask for the check. That is because this guy that your friends said was “perfect for you” is actually not at all. And not just based on shallow criteria. He interrupts. He boasts and overshares. And he hasn’t asked you one question since you sat down.
We’ve been there. The first date. The dreadfully painful first date. You feel uneasy and on edge. You can’t wait to leave.
Unfortunately, those same emotional reactions are triggered by the way in which websites behave. Your company website is not unlike a human. It is the first thing that many potential clients will encounter, and the way that it behaves upon first impression is not terribly different from the way you would want to be on a first date.
A website is more than an extension of your brand, it’s your online personality. So before you install another module or create another page, take a look at our list below. Make sure you are not making your website into the date from hell:
We just met. Can we take it slow?
Before I can go anywhere on the site, I’m invited to join you at your next event with a pop-up. Then, when I figure out how to minimize that, you invite me to sign up for the newsletter. We just met. Can we please take it slow? Would you ask a first date to meet your parents? Of course not. Let me engage with your content before you ask to marry me.
Standing You Up
I really wanted to know about your company’s track record of success. When I tried to navigate to the site’s client portfolio, I instead see: 404 ERROR. Mistakes happen and technology breaks. But making sure the main navigation works on your site is crucial. Otherwise, you leave me feeling stood up. There are few worse feelings than that.
Ask for oversharing
We know that your content is important and that last blog post is well-crafted. But do you really need sharing options for sharing with every possible medium? “Glad you liked this post, please send it to your follower on Buffer, Facebook, chiq, Twitter, Fashiolista, Delicious, linkaGoGo.” A simple, “Get the share code here” is much less obnoxious.
Making a Grand Entrance
Before I can get to your homepage, I have to sit through a one minute flash presentation with your logo rotating and some bad music I cannot shut off. That’s like walking into a room and forcing me to listen to you drone on about yourself. It makes you boring and narcissistic. Let’s just start a conversation instead. Oh, and speaking of conversation…
There’s a jack-in-the-box on a white screen. And when I hover over the handle a bunch of navigation pops out. Do I use that or am I supposed to turn the crank? Is there some kind of secret word or is this a Where’s Waldo puzzle? Don’t make me have to crack the code to get around your site. You start sounding like the guy who can’t just be straightforward in conversation. Let me know where you would like me to go and don’t make our first encounter a test of my wits that I could not study for.
The art palate for the designer of a website is broad. There are so many options for color, pattern, design approaches and fonts. And that does not mean that you have to use all of them. Stand up for your chosen style. It makes you appear as though you are not confident to use a hodge-podge of them. Like the guy who is still living with his mother, still looks like his mother dresses him and works a dead-end job with no purpose. Instead, be the guy who knows where he is headed and would like a partner who feels the same way.
You Have “Barney-ed” Your Site
I see that you know that you are awesome, and the appearance of your site is legend, wait –for-it, -dary. But there’s just one problem: I have no idea what you do. And then you describe it: “We create top-down solutions for an ever-changing, global economy” Yeah. I still don’t know what you do. Don’t be like Barney from How I Met Your Mother. Sure, he is funny and good looking, but people want to know what you do. Make it clear what you do and how you can help me.
Think about the people you want to know more about. What are they like? How do they behave that makes you more curious about them and makes you want to ask questions? How do they make you feel? You want to be interesting and interested in others. Say pertinent things and be thought-provoking.
If all else fails, check out some first date tips from the people in the know. Rid your site of these personality issues and best of luck on finding your company’s next match.